The National Executive Board met in Ottawa from December 17-18, 2008.
The Board opened their December meeting with a minute of silence to remember, with sadness, the passing of retirees Brothers Hubert Elkin, Leonard Stair, John King, Sister Linda Dumbleton, Frances Burns (partner of Brother Kealey Cummings) and Richard Beastall (partner of NEB member Sister Tracey Beastall). Our sympathies are extended to the families and friends of all of them.
Strike Support for PSAC-UPCE
The Board was able to visit a spirited rally to support the PSAC-UPCE members who have been on strike against Canada Post since November 17, 2008. In addition to making a $10,000 donation, CUPE National will encourage locals to support the picket lines across the country with messages of support. We also call on the federal government and employer to negotiate an agreement with no concessions.
Labour’s Agenda for the Federal Budget
Following up on the historic political activities of recent weeks, which have the Harper government scrambling, the NEB resolved to work to ensure labour’s agenda is reflected in the January federal budget. We will work with the Canadian Labour Congress, the opposition parties and our social justice partners.
Our agenda includes:
1. Investing in our future: infrastructure and procurement;
2. Increasing access to employment insurance and training;
3. Protecting workers’ pensions;
4. Investment in manufacturing and forestry jobs and communities;
5. Maintaining and expanding services for people.
The full text of our agenda is on www.cupe.ca.
CUPE’s 2009 Budget
While the economic future is uncertain, a measured budget was adopted unanimously by the NEB for 2009, building on our foundations and responding to growing needs. Now is the time to invest in our strength to weather any potential economic storm. For example, we were able to include provisions to defend our members’ interests and the public sector across the country. The Strategic Direction to fight privatization adopted by National Convention will continue at an even more vigorous pace. In addition, we will add 17.5 new staff positions in the regions and at national office.
Cost share campaigns continue to mobilize members, educate the public and protect public services. At this meeting, 29 requests were approved, totaling $888,848.09. In addition, 12 legal and arbitration requests were approved, totaling $198,500.00.
A motion was adopted to purchase a building in Halifax to house our Atlantic Regional Office. This furthers our plan to provide healthy and safe workplaces for our staff and welcoming gathering spaces for our members.
Economic Climate for Bargaining
As Canada now goes into a serious economic downturn and recession, our Senior Economist has prepared research for use by CUPE locals. The December issue of “Economic Climate for Bargaining” explains the three “R’s” that are needed to fix our economy: re-investment in the real economy; re-building our social infrastructure and support system of our society; and re-regulation and control of the financial industry and other runaway parts of our economy. It is available at www.cupe.ca.
Brother Ken Robinson was welcomed to the NEB, as the newly elected Regional Vice-President from British Columbia. He also replaces Brother Fred Muzin as President of our Hospital Employees Union.
The National Executive Board sends greetings to all of you and hopes you and your families and friends have a peaceful holiday season.